Wake County Schools

Wake superintendent visits 60 schools, recommends teacher bonus

Posted March 29, 2011

— Wake County public schools' new superintendent Tony Tata said Tuesday that he has visited 60 schools in 60 days and that his first priority is to "protect teachers and classrooms, first and foremost."

Tata appeared on WRAL-TV's morning news and said he is budgeting enough money to keep teachers and give them a bonus.

"We found enough money for the next year to keep every teacher in the classroom and to grow teachers," he said. "I’m actually recommending a $500 bonus to every full-time teacher."

Tata presented a budget proposal to the Wake County Board of Education two weeks ago, prioritizing teacher retention and classroom investment in the face of a projected $2 billion to $3 billion state budget shortfall next year.

The school district will cut 46 central services clerical positions, reduce contract months for assistant principals and reduce per-student spending by $52 next year, Tata said, while funneling additional resources toward teacher retention in under-enrolled schools and creating new technology and international studies programs in ten schools.

Twenty of the positions to be cut are currently vacant, according to school district leaders. One clerical position at each school would also be cut in Tata's proposal.

Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata Wake superintendent talks student assignment, teacher bonuses

The district plans to eliminate 181 months of employment for assistant principals, and Tata said he hopes to reduce contracts rather than eliminate positions altogether.

Tata requested a county appropriation of $313.5 million, the same as the school system got last year, despite an expectation that an additional 3,400 students will enroll in the district.

He plans to stabilize five traditional elementary schools that are either under-enrolled or have lost significant populations by retaining teachers, which will keep class sizes small and maintain or improve current teacher to student ratios. Tata said this retention will make under-enrolled schools more attractive to parents.

Hillburn Drive, Root and Jeffreys Grove elementary schools are currently at the top of the list, Tata said, but those choices could change depending on where students are assigned next year.

He said his budget would maintain art, music and physical education programs at designated elementary schools – protecting 3.5 teacher positions at each school – and retain six additional teacher positions that would have otherwise been cut. Nineteen teachers total will be affected by the plan.

The $1.25 billion budget also ensures foreign language programs at all of the district's middle schools, maintains 26 pre-kindergarten classrooms that will no longer be funded federally and expands alternative learning program seats from 1,346 to 2,106. 

"It affects many jobs and many lives, so we have to have a pretty somber tone around this budget," Tata said. "But we do feel like in some tough budget times, we've been able to mitigate the impact on the classroom."


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  • kimvian Apr 1, 2011

    Absolutely true about flunking!!!! Straight from the mouth of a fifth grade teacher at a local school! I think we should agree to disagree. I cannot be convinced.

  • Plenty Coups Apr 1, 2011

    "You do realize these kids get 3 chances to pass those tests don't you?"

    Yes, because their passing the grade depends on it. I'm not in favor of giving them 3 chances but they are allowed to retake it after receiving more instruction (such as summer school). The instruction allowed a small number who failed to then pass it.(an insignificant number)So, one could make the argument that they were more highly motivated to learn after realizing their passing depended on it. In other words, they learned. Not a terrible concept.

    "Did you also know that they do not fail elementary children anymore"

    Absolutely not true.

    "I don't care about your national statistics. I'm concerned about LOCAL."

    Are you saying we have high illiteracy rates here in NC?Provide proof please. I'm not interested in anecdotal evidence or no evidence. As already stated by me, most 4th graders pass the LOCAL state EOG's. It's a matter of public record.

  • kimvian Mar 31, 2011

    You do realize these kids get 3 chances to pass those tests don't you?
    Did you also know that they do not fail elementary children anymore because they think being held back is detrimental to the child?
    I don't care about your national statistics. I'm concerned about LOCAL.
    The policemen should be the first to get a bonus, provided that they are doing their job.
    Too many people have the "owe me" or "something for nothing" attitude.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 31, 2011

    kimvian-" When 45 out of 75 fourth graders fail the first round of EOG exams, it is a direct reflection of the teacher."

    You don't think the student's ability, family life, or motivation has anything to do with it? Are you picking one school in particular? BTW, two thirds of NC fourth graders did pass the EOG reading exams and over 75% passed the math. Does that mean "most" teachers are then deserving of bonuses or higher pay?

    "I see fifth grade children who can't spell simple words."

    And I see a whole bunch that can run circles around adults. You can lead a horse to water but you can't make them drink. We have a literacy rate of 99% here in the US. Yes, some people don't read that well just like some people in the US aren't productive citizens or become criminals. Does that mean we shouldn't pay policemen who work in high crime areas?

  • kimvian Mar 30, 2011

    plenty coups--
    Maybe you didn't understand. A bonus will NOT change the fact that a degree is necessary. They most certainly should receive a bonus IF they do a good job. When 45 out of 75 fourth graders fail the first round of EOG exams, it is a direct reflection of the teacher. I see fifth grade children who can't spell simple words. How do they get to fifth grade not knowing how to spell second grade words? Teachers have never made boo koos of money. Everyone knows this. There are plenty of four year degrees with way better payoffs...

  • Plenty Coups Mar 30, 2011

    nc guy-"plenty coups you keep saying that current college grads start out making 50K"

    "Where did you get that data?"

    From the National Assoc. of Colleges and Employers. Even the worst degrees, the liberal arts ones start out around 35K, still more than we pay teachers in this state. I'll provide a link:


  • ncguy Mar 30, 2011

    plenty coups you keep saying that current college grads start out making 50K

    Where did you get that data?

    HMMM? unemployment and a down economy sure doesn't dictate that.

    I see more waiting tables than I do anywhere else

  • Narn Mar 30, 2011

    driverkid3 - I want to know your magic! Seriously, I do. How does one make ends meet on 8,088 a year without any assistance? Our Mortgage is very low, health insurance for just my husband and child is $620 a month, and you know the rest...electric,phone, car ins, GAS, groceries - I am extreme couponing these days. What else can I do? Help! Please. And by the way, I wasn't asking for a raise, just don't take jobs away from the lowest paid people who are already struggling.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 30, 2011

    "There are VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, FEW teachers who deserve a bonus..."

    Are you kidding? Seriously. Do you want to attract quality candidates who are REQUIRED to have a 4 year degree and certification to educate the students of this country or would you be happy with any yahoo off the streets? The average college graduate now makes over 50K just out of college while we still pay our teachers here in NC around 31K to start out.

  • kimvian Mar 29, 2011

    There are VERY, VERY, VERY, VERY, FEW teachers who deserve a bonus...